July 21, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama had eight players selected to the 2008 Southeastern Conference Coaches Preseason All-SEC Football Team the league office announced Monday.
Junior offensive tackle Andre Smith and senior Rashad Johnson headline the team for the Crimson Tide with first-team accolades. Smith, a Preseason Playboy All-American and the 2007 winner of the SEC's Jacobs Blocking Trophy, was one of six unanimous first-team selections. Johnson, a Nagurski Trophy and Jim Thorpe Award candidate, led the Tide a year ago with 94 tackles and six interceptions from his free safety position.
Senior center Antoine Caldwell, sophomore linebacker Rolando McClain and junior return specialist/cornerback Javier Arenas highlighted the second-team. Caldwell, a three-year starter on the offensive line for the Tide and a 2006 All-SEC performer, has also been named to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy and Outland Trophy in 2008.
McClain is coming off of a freshman season where he was named to the SEC Coaches Freshman All-SEC Team while registering 75 tackles with five tackles for loss and two interceptions. Arenas was selected as a return specialist after finishing second in the SEC last season in punt returns with a 15.4 yard per return average.
Senior quarterback John Parker Wilson and sophomore running back Terry Grant were named to the third-team offense while junior place-kicker Leigh Tiffin was chosen to the third team as a place-kicker. Wilson passed for 2,846 yards last season with 18 touchdowns and is on the Davey O'Brien and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Watch Lists. Grant rushed for 891 yards on 180 carries last season, both UA freshman records. Tiffin set the UA scoring record for kickers with 111 points, going 25 of 34 on field goals and connecting on all 36 extra-point attempts.
This is the fifth year of the SEC Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Football Team. It is released in advance of the 2008 SEC Football Media Days, which will be held July 23-25, at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala. Media in attendance at SEC Football Media Days will vote on the All-SEC Team and a predicted order of finish for the league.
Alabama opens the 2008 season in Atlanta on Saturday, Aug. 30, at 7 p.m. against Clemson in the Georgia Dome.